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Necas Scores Two; Staal Gets OT Winner; Canes Take 3-2 Series Lead

JL Matthews

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Raleigh, NC -- Martin Necas scored twice and Jordan Staal had the overtime winner, as the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Nashville Predators 3-2 in overtime on Tuesday.

The Game Five victory gives the Canes a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Yakov Trenin scored twice for Nashville.

"Obviously, it was a great bounce, but we've been working for those, and I'm glad we got one tonight," Jordan Staal said of his overtime game-winning goal.

Indeed, the Canes have been waiting for something to break their way. After suffering back-to-back double-overtime losses in Games Three and Four, Carolina needed a win in Game Five to avoid facing elimination in Game Six.

Things didn't start well for the Canes.

Steven Lorentz's effort to block a point shot resulted in an odd carom off of Yakov Trenin. The puck fluttered through the air and landed in the Carolina net--giving Nashville an early 1-0 lead.

Officials reviewed the play to determine whether the puck took a deflection off of Trenin's stick (which was elevated above the crossbar). However, the goal stood, as the replays were inconclusive.

The Canes would draw even on the powerplay later in the first period. Canes head coach Rod Brind'Amour shuffled his powerplay units--dropping Andrei Svechnikov and Jordan Staal to the 2nd unit and elevating Martin Necas and Teuvo Teravainen.

The move paid off at 14:21 when Necas ripped home a wrist shot past Juuse Saros to tie the game. It was Necas' first playoff powerplay goal.

Trenin sucked the air out of PNC Arena for a second time, only 53 seconds into the second period, when he combined on a two-on-one with Colton Sissons. The 24-year-old Russian got his second of the night as he banged home a saucer pass from Sissons.

It looked like the Canes had tied the game at 2-2, when a puck took a deflection off of Jordan Staal's skate. But Nashville head coach John Hynes, in a bold move, challenged the play claiming goaltender interference.

Once again in this series, officials huddled up, took their time, and made it difficult for the Hurricanes. The goal was waved off due to incidental contact between Warren Foegele and Juuse Saros.

"I get why they called the goalie interference," Brind'Amour said. "Foegs was there initially, and if that shot came in initially, I think it's goalie interference. But [the shot] didn't come in initially. So then, [Foegele] gets out, and their guy interferes with their goalie...There needs to be more common sense, in my opinion."

The disallowed goal had a deflating effect on the Canes. The team struggled to put offensive pressure on Nashville until the middle of the third period, when Martin Necas took over.

Necas tore through the neutral zone at top speed, deked around Nashville players, and swung wide around the Nashville net. Dropping to his knees, he powered home a wrap-around on the far side of the net, beating Saros, who was out of position.

"I saw I had a little speed, and I saw that Saros was pretty far from his crease," Necas said. "I already tried [this move] a couple times during the regular season, and I saw there was an opportunity. Fortunately, it worked."

With the third-straight game headed to overtime, Carolina looked to change their recent luck in extra time.

In the end, it was the captain, Jordan Staal getting the bounce and claiming the win for the Canes.

"There's no secret this time of year," Brind'Amour said. "That's the kind of goal that you have to have every night."

Housekeeping

Jaccob Slavin returned from injury. He played a team-high 26:08 and was plus-2 on the night.

Dougie Hamilton and Jaccob Slavin each had one assist for Carolina.

Colton Sissons and Roman Josi each had one assist for Nashville.

Alex Nedeljkovic made 23 saves, earning his third playoff win.

Juuse Saros made 34 saves for the Predators.

Cedric Paquette (lower body) did not dress for Carolina.

Up Next

The series moves to Nashville for Game Six, Thursday night at 9:00pm Eastern.

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JL Matthews is a writer with interests spanning history, humor, tv/film, parenting, and more. His work has appeared in numerous publications, and he is a 6x Top Writer on Medium. Follow him on News Break, Medium, and Twitter for updates and latest work.

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